I think someone should do a study investigating the psychological impact of The Star Wars Holiday Special. Now, that may sound crazy, but I think we owe it to ourselves (not to mention subsequent generations of Star Wars fans) to look into the risks we’re dealing with here. I mean, think about it: It’s entirely possible that this 1978 atrocity has been corrupting the minds of our youth since its original airing, and we lack the conclusive evidence to ban it.
I propose that Lucasfilm fund a study to look into this matter. George has the money and certainly the desire to impose sanctions on anyone caught with a copy of The Holiday Special. He and his company could bring the might of scientific inquiry to bear and ascertain whether or not there is sufficient evidence to take action against the TV special. That being said, I’m not going to sit on the sidelines in all of this (when have I ever done that with Star Wars issues?). I have drafted a preliminary outline of how to proceed.
First, we would gather a large group of
heavily-drugged Star Trek fans willing participants and set them up in separate viewing rooms. Come to think of it, we should set up some of them in "family units" where we would investigate the deterioration of the parent-child relationship as a result of, among other things, softcore Wookiee porn. Maybe we could find a few newlywed couples and use their financial desperation youthful compliance to assess the health of a marriage in the immediate aftermath of the viewing experience.
The Control Group
Naturally, we would need another collection of people whose reactions would serve as the baseline against which we we would evaluate our more unfortunate subjects. The question then becomes: To what do we expose members of the control group? Should we have them watch a comparably-long portion of one of the Star Wars films? Maybe a documentary about the saga? Or perhaps televised holiday special from another property?
I suppose that the control group media would depend on what we hope to learn. If we want to examine the implications of the Star Wars content in The Holiday Special as compared to the portrayal of the GFFA in more traditional media, then our best bet for the control group is an excerpt from one of the movies. If we are curious about how The Holiday Special’s approach to “holiday cheer” impacts its viewers, then the control group should watch another TV special’s take on the holiday season. With sufficient funding, we could explore both the special’s depiction of the Star Wars universe and the nature of its holiday theme.
Ensuring Obedience Participant Security
It is also important to remember that the test subjects will surely want to avert their eyes after only a few minutes of the viewing session. This will need to be addressed -- what do scientific ethical guidelines say about the use of ocular toothpicks and iron restraints? I’m sure that ILM’s visual effects wizards could digitally render falsified approval certificates from the appropriate scientific review board. After that, it’s simply a matter of how much of the study’s budget should be allotted to paralysis drugs and the aforementioned restraining devices.
One of the most crucial aspects of the study will be the parameters that define our assessments. How much crying must occur for the subject to be considered “Depraved?” Should extremely loud and prolonged crying be considered “wailing” for the purposes of terminological precision? We must also ensure that our measurements are synchronized – it won’t do for one researcher to classify "Subject reports random Jefferson Starship hallucinations” as a 4 on the relevant scale while another records it as a 7 on that scale.
We must also plan the experimental process carefully, taking all foreseeable complications into account. When should we intervene in the event of physical aggression on the part of our subjects? Can a person be reasonably expected to fill out a questionnaire immediately after viewing has been completed, or should we give them ten minutes to process what they have just seen?
Additionally, we should consider administering multiple viewings, so that we can average subjects’ responses later and eliminate statistical anomalies. It is always possible that a participant’s abject horror and disgust are not entirely the result of what they see on the TV screen. Perhaps they had an argument with a co-worker that is fresh on their mind, or perhaps the television in their observation room is the same model as the one that was stolen from them in a recent burglary. To mitigate these potential issues, each successive viewing would be adjusted for environmental factors that could influence our subjects’ reactions.
These are but a few of the points that would need to be addressed if this study was being seriously considered. I invite suggestions for further development of the study in the comments section below. Remember, this study is for the children. Do it for Lumpy.